5 Books That Helped Me Follow My Calling

Big Magic by Elizabeth GilbertBig-Magic
Liz’s joy about the creative life is both intoxicating and infectious. She views creativity as a spirit of sorts. Like a witch’s familiar, or a house elf. This whimsical concept compels the reader to not take their own art TOO seriously, and to treat their art with kindness. What I most loved about this book?“Most of all though, he asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities. Without bravery, their lives would remain small — far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be.”

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman canoe
Nick Offerman’s guide on delicious living is frank and fresh. The first time I “read” this book I actually listened to it with my husband in the car on the long drive back from our honeymoon in Maine. At the time, I was working the cubicle life and honestly enjoying it. But I knew that I wanted to freelance in the future. Offerman serves up truth when he says:“If a person can simply discern what it is that he/she loves to do with an eight-to-ten hour day, then a satisfying workday is easily attained. Figure out what you love to do, and then get paid doing it.”Also this:“My generation certainly had the mindset that in order to get a “good job”, one had to attend college, but what I’ve learned since is that many of these so-called jobs are just a sentencing to a sort of cubicle soul-death with a paycheck attached.”

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymourself sufficientsource
The Bible of homesteading and self-sufficiency is highly interesting in it’s own right, but what I took away from it was the beauty in living your life in honest simplicity. By living on purpose, by returning to ourselves for survival, we can find joy in each sustaining effort.“It all sounds like a lot of hard work,” I said to her. “Yes, but nobody ever told us then,” she said. “Told you what?” “Told us there was anything wrong with work!” Today, “work” has become a dirty word, and most people would do anything to get out of it…. it never occurred to anyone that work might be enjoyable.”

Home Grown by Ben Hewitt home grown
I’ve always been attracted to life off the beaten path. I’ve always wanted more than what “society” suggests, I’ve always wanted to push my ear up against my soul to listen to what’s really good for me. As an oldest daughter, I’ve always had a knack for doing what I thought others expected of me. Prestige. Title. Class. But there was always that voice.“In my own life, I am repeatedly struck by the truth that the more thoroughly I liberate myself from prevailing culturing assumptions — around education, wealth, ambition, and success, to name but a few — the more choice I actually have. The more freedom I have. In some regards, this is obvious, because if I’m not devoting my days to the accumulation of money and status, I am liberated to pursue other things. But the freedom I think of is more than temporal; it is also a freedom of emotion and spirit, to know that happiness and fulfillment can be found in the smallest and simplest of places and things.”

The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks Rumi Booksource
Oh Rumi, sweet sweet Rumi. This 13th-Century Persian poet has the most hopeful thoughts. His poetry is like sipping on a fine glass of wine after a hard day. He speaks about “responding to every call that excites your spirit” and how art lives within each of us. His running theme of growing pains really resonates with the young creative about to embark on a career, and he teaches patience and mindfulness.“A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.

What nine months of attention does for an embryo
forty early mornings will do
for your gradually growing wholeness.”

“My God cause you to change your life
in the way you know you should.” 

Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash